A lesson in Afternoon Tea
A passion for food
We meet three of our talented chefs to discover more about their culinary specialities and inspiration.
The cuisine on board the Cunard fleet is rightly famed for its excellence, created by our talented chefs. Guests on board all each Cunard Queen can choose between a number of dining experiences in our restaurants and bars, bringing extra variety to their voyage.
Gaspar Fernandes is the Chef de Cuisine of the Grill restaurants on Queen Elizabeth and is originally from Goa in western India.
What’s the best thing about visiting different countries?
I always explore when the ship is in a port to see what people eat locally, so that we can try it in our kitchens on board. The daily Chef’s Special on the menu is often influenced by a country or region we’re visiting, so we can offer our guests a typical dish to try.
"Travel has really influenced my work as a chef."Gaspar Fernandes, Chef de Cuisine
Do you make Goan dishes for guests?
Yes, I do. One of the things that gives me great pleasure as a Cunard chef is when guests ask me to make dishes that are typical of where I grew up, such as Goan fish curry, along with other special curries, like my favourite chicken or lamb xacuti. I love cooking with carefully roasted spices and fresh herbs, and I take great pride in ensuring that the balance of different flavours is just right.
What recipe brings back special memories?
My grandmother’s bebinca – a layer cake made from sugar, egg yolks, coconut milk, flour and ghee. Goa was ruled by the Portuguese for almost 450 years, resulting in a fusion of cultures, not least where food is concerned, and this recipe is a great example of that. I’m more than happy to make it as a special treat for our guests on board to enjoy, too!
Reginaldo – known as Reggie – is from the Philippines and is Chef de Cuisine of the Britannia Restaurant on Queen Mary 2.
What food do you love to cook the most?
Although I make typical Philippine dishes when I go home to see my family, my absolute favourite is Spanish cuisine – I think that’s because I started out working with an inspiring Basque chef who influenced me so much. As you can imagine, I love going ashore when we’re in Spanish ports like Barcelona!
"I love passing my culinary knowledge on."Reginaldo Garcia, Chef de Cuisine
How do you share your cooking talent with others?
I sometimes do demonstrations for our guests – the Spanish dishes I love, like paella or tapas, are always very popular. It’s also very satisfying to share my own experience and skills with our Cunard team, especially the promising young chefs who join the crew.
How long have you been a Cunard chef?
I joined 18 years ago – that’s a lot of experience! I’ve worked across the fleet and have been with Queen Mary 2 for the last six years. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing our guests – many of whom return again and again – enjoying the dishes that the team and I make for them.
Borche is from Strumica in Macedonia, and is Chef de Partie in Steakhouse at The Verandah on board Queen Victoria.
What do you like eating most?
I love uncomplicated dishes where the ingredients speak for themselves – pasta with a really good fresh tomato sauce, for instance, or an authentic pizza with a wonderful topping. You can’t beat it when you’re somewhere like Naples, where it originated.
"I get such pleasure from cooking with quality ingredients."Borche Stojanov, Chef de Partie
Tell us about your work on board.
In my current role, I head up all the different sections in the kitchen, which makes it very interesting. But I especially love the opportunity to create all the different stocks, purées and sauces from scratch. These can be the making of a dish, and the process can’t be hurried: it’s a skill I’ve worked hard to perfect!
Is there something you make that really has the wow factor?
I especially like it when we’re asked to make a special dish for a guest, such as the romantic-sounding Love Letters – a homemade ravioli with mascarpone and truffle filling. It’s wonderful!